Saturday, January 26, 2013

New Unique Containers For GonSS

In an earlier post, I mentioned that my in-laws gave me some UNIQUE containers for the garden for Christmas.

My Christmas wish list included:  galvanized containers to grow plants in.
I added the disclaimer that it was alright if they were previously used and even fine if they had holes because I would drill holes for drainage if they didn't anyway.

I got  a lot of lovely, new, girly, fun stuff from them for Christmas.

And, I got some items they recovered from a cousin's farm metal scrap pile to use as garden containers.

We believe this is an old hog feeder.
I can plant trailing flowers in the top and plant something around the bottom.
Sorry for the view of my current compost pile in the back ground.  This is a real garden.

Neither of these have holes.  I'll need to drill holes in the bottom of the coffee pot (isn't it cute?)
I don't know what the other piece is from.  It's fairly shallow so it might work well for some succulents and I'll skip drainage holes for it as it's rather thick.  Don't want to try to drill through it.  I'll just tip it after watering so excess water can escape.

This (according to my wonderful husband) is HEAVY.  Obviously, it came off something much bigger.  It will make a great pedestal for a bird bath or container with plants.

This is a classic cream can with a rust patina and drainage already provided.

Oh, the fun of planning new container plantings and finding the perfect place for these treasures in the garden.

I've been told the cousin's farm metal scrap pile has more container possibilities.  Perhaps there will be a scavenger hunt there in the future (after winter, when it's warmer).

My in-laws (and the cousin whose farm they were from) had a ball looking for these pieces.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Carribean Cruise For GonSS and WH

Hello!  I am back on land.  My wonderful husband and I had an opportunity to take a cruise recently.  Leaving the country and being at sea were firsts for us.  With passports in hand, we boarded the Carnival Magic Cruise Ship on Sunday, January 6, 2013 in Galveston, TX.

Everyone keeps asking us about our stateroom, so here are photos.  We had a standard interior room.  No window, no balcony.  We were on deck 1.  The fun stuff at the top of the ship was on decks 10-15 (with dining and shopping and shows in between).  We took the stairs almost always to burn off the calories from all the delicious food and 24 hour ice cream availability!  WH thinks we got in the elevators 4 or 5 times total.


There was a water park, pool and outdoor theatre on top.


Every night, we would get a newsletter of the activities available the next day, with chocolates and a towel animal on our turned down bed.

While we enjoyed the music, shows, dining, food, hot tubs, etc., one of our favorite things to do was walk around the ship on deck especially at sunset and at night.  Occasionally, we would see the lights of another ship or an oil drilling rig while we were in the Gulf of Mexico.

We ported three times.

First stop:  Montego Bay, Jamaica.


The water and beaches of Jamaica are beautiful.
We purchased a shuttle pass and rode it to the designated stops for shopping and a public beach.
Much of the Jamaica coastline seems to be owned by resorts.  Across the road from the resorts are shanty towns where the citizens build shelter out of whatever they can acquire.  It was quite a contrast.  We were constantly approached to purchase something.  WH was even asked to purchase something that is illegal.  A lot of 'no thank yous' left our lips.  At the port, there is a fenced off area and a lot of check points to get back  to the ship.  There are items you can purchase in Jamaica which are not allowed on the ship; but since we passed through with barely a glance, my guess is the security is more to make sure no person gets on the ship who isn't suppose to.  Quite different from the other two ports we visited.  If we ever return to Jamaica, I think one of the ship's tours to something out of the city would be interesting.  The Jamaicans who we talked to were friendly and really seem to have the "no problem" attitude for life.  I just felt bad that they are so reliant on the tourists for income.

Not to miss an opportunity to photograph flowers, I got these photos of what I think is bougainvillea near port.

Second stop:  The Caymen Islands.

We started by just walking along the road along the coast to see what there was to see, and check out some snorkeling sites I had researched.  
Found this interesting driveway.  Would love to have this in our garden.


I think the small 'stones' are man made.

After exploring as far as we wanted, we had a little snack on a dock and chose to try snorkeling where we could see a ship wreck:  The Callie.  We rented snorkeling gear from a little shop on the shoreline.  They had bins to leave our towels, etc.  I had purchased water proof pouches ahead of time to carry our passports, etc. while in the water.

Our little water proof sport camera did OK.  I really couldn't see the screen very well with my goggles and the water/sun on the camera.  I just pointed and pushed the button.


Once we got out to the site of the ship wreck, which was close to shore, we did fine; but trying to get the hang of breathing through the mouth tube was interesting.  Every time I put my face in the water, I wanted to hold my breath.  We also had trouble getting into the water as the waves were pretty good and kept tossing us back to shore.  It was challenging, but we did it.  Our first snorkeling experience!  I would do it again just maybe somewhere with calmer water.  I am not a strong swimmer.  I had a little inflatable vest on which was plenty to keep me afloat.

Third stop:  Cozumel, Mexico

We really didn't spent much time in Cozumel (which is an island off the Yucatan Peninsula).  We got off the ship seen in the background and onto a yellow ferry seen at the dock.  We took a very rough ride to the mainland.  I was so glad when that ride was over.  Coming back was much smoother, thank goodness.


After reaching the main land, we walked to a tour bus seeing this iguana along the way.  He was just sunning himself on a wall by the sidewalk.

The bus drove inland through communities with these colorful roadside shops.

Our destination was the Mayan Ruins of Coba.

Tourists are still allowed to climb the pyramid at Coba.  All 120 uneven steps.

WH lead the way up.

I lead the way down.  Yes, it is that steep.


After the bus returned us to the port with the ferry, we saw a few creatures unfamiliar to us.  

These are agouti.  Our tour guide says they taste like roast beef.  I'll take his word for it.  They are large rodents.

These aren't creatures.  Ha.  I think they're glass bouys hanging in the tree.  They were very pretty.

This is a macaw outside a restaurant.  I don't know if it's tame or just decided to pose on this nice branch.

The Mayan Ruins tour was something we scheduled through Carnival.  We were told if you're on a ship excursion, you won't be left behind if something delays the tour.  We thought that sounded safest for exploring beyond the port.  We checked out a few shops in Cozumel before boarding the ship for our return to Galveston, TX.

We had some rough water a couple of times.  It is odd to be on something constantly moving.  There was always a little sway, but we did fine without needing any motion sickness medication. 

The garden got a little rain while we were gone.  Our one fish survived and I had watered all the houseplants well before we left and they look good.

It was a fabulous vacation.  Now, we're trying to return to normal life without 24 hour ice cream.  :-)

I haven't been by to visit blogs since we left.  I'll come see what you've been doing soon!

Friday, January 4, 2013

A Christmas Gift For The Garden

Just sharing a cute new thermometer for the garden which my in-laws gave me for Christmas.

They also gave me some UNIQUE containers for the garden.  I'll try to share them soon.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Shoveling Snow Followed By Hot Cocoa

After shoveling snow on New Year's Day, we enjoyed some hot cocoa.

I have a recipe for hot cocoa which I included one post back.  My wonderful husband and I never picked up the habits of drinking coffee or hot tea.  We love hot cocoa and mulled cider for the winter months.

Hot cocoa with marshmallows is the best.

Hot Cocoa Mix

Hot Cocoa Mix

16 oz Nestle' Nesquik
12 oz powdered creamer
16 oz powdered sugar
5.9 oz instant pudding
16 oz powdered milk
8 oz baking cocoa

Choose flavored creamer if you wish and which ever Nesquik and/or pudding you like.

Combine all ingredients. Store in an air tight container. To prepare hot cocoa, dissolve two slightly heaping tablespoons in one cup of hot water.

I took a friend's hot cocoa recipe which included instant pudding and modified it to suit our tastes. I also made it easy to mix. Very little measuring is required. We enjoy it with marshmallows.

35 Servings

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013